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Remembering the 'Bloody Sock' Game, Five Years Later

October 20, 2009

Editor’s Note: On Oct. 19, 2004, Curt Schilling delivered one of the most memorable performances of his career. He allowed one run in seven innings in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees after having a dislocated tendon in his right ankle sutured into place. The Red Sox’ 4-2 win positioned the team for a winner-take-all Game 7 in Yankee Stadium. The Sox won that game, completing an unprecedented comeback from a 3-0 series deficit en route to the franchise’s first World Series title in 86 years. Here, Schilling offers his recollections of his Game 6 performance, five years later.

I knew I was going to start, but had no idea how I was going to pitch. The ankle, after having been sutured the night before, was holding up a lot better than we’d thought. I was surprised at the amount of bleeding that occurred overnight, and I am sure the maids were a bit worried when they changed my sheets that morning.

I didn’t do anything really abnormal in the day leading up to the start. I did a few more windups in my hotel room than normal, to try and push it a bit to make sure it wasn’t going to pop.

The thing I most vividly remember from the hours leading up to the start was hitting the top step in Yankee Stadium. When I went out to pitch Game 1, when I hit the top step to walk to the bullpen, my ankle buckled and the tendon popped out of place. That was the first time I knew I might have a problem.

It was about the 50th time I had faced the Yankees that year, and I knew it would be the last, so I came out of my bullpen having done some things different. Whereas I usually made sure I had fastball command and my split, I worked my ass off in that pen to get a feel for my curveball and slider right off the bat since I wanted to use them for all nine innings, instead of here and there.

In Game 6, there was no specific moment when I knew that I would make it through the game. After pitch one, I never really thought much on it. It held up I think because I never favored it, or at least never felt like I did. In watching some highlights I do notice I limped, but I never thought I was limping.

I only realized the ankle was bleeding for one reason. I received multiple Marcaine injections from April on, each start, and as the season wore on I started needing to get in-game injections as well. This game I needed to have it done again, and the Marcaine made the outer half of my foot numb (which was a whole other problem).

In doing so it made me feel as though my shoe wasn’t on right, so I kept pressing down on the bottom of my shoe to move my foot side to side to try and “feel” as if my foot was firmly in my shoe. That’s how I noticed, in about the fifth or sixth inning, that the sole of my shoe and my sock were soaked with blood. You ever walk in the rain in your socks? That’s how it felt. Problem was that it was cold out, too, so that made the blood cold and I could feel it on half my foot.

In looking back on it, the main thing I take away from that game was my mental ability to overcome anything. I got past the ankle pain and into a state of mind that had me completely focused on the game.

I probably did more damage to the ankle than I would have liked. When they opened my ankle up after the season they told me that my peroneal tendon, in addition to being dislocated, was split, lengthwise, for about five inches and wedged over the ankle bone. In a way that was a good thing because it sort of locked itself down.

I made it through seven innings, and when I was done, I sat on the bench. I’ve often talked about the spiritual experience that entire two-week period was, and after I came out of this game it really hit me hard.

I had prayed hard, never once to “win” but just to be able to compete. I couldn’t do that in Game 1 because in a spiritual and physical sense I had tried to “go it alone.” Before Game 2 I had prayed with Mike Timlin and Tim Wakefield, and I prayed ONLY for the ability to compete. I prayed for that with the belief that with the eight guys playing behind me, and my ability to pitch, I could beat them on one foot if I could just compete.

Looking back on it five years later, it was a much more meaningful event from a faith and spiritual standpoint than from a performance standpoint. I am proud of what we did that night, but I am far more excited about what I was able to experience in my relationship with Christ that night. I knew, postgame, when I started the press conference off by thanking the Lord and the entire media contingent rolled its eyes, how they were going to report it. Whatever they did, I knew they couldn’t come close to conveying what I had experienced.

My lasting memory of that game — more than anything that happened while I was on the mound — is of Keith Foulke. Every memory I have of that postseason has Keith in it. He pitched every stinking game and dominated, on fumes.

57 Comments leave one →
  1. Fine ... permalink
    October 20, 2009 12:06 pm

    … I’ll play along, Curt. What an amazing hero!!!!!!

  2. David permalink
    October 20, 2009 12:47 pm

    That game is still one of my greatest birthday gifts of all time.

    thanks curt.

  3. ReggieDunlop permalink
    October 20, 2009 1:29 pm

    Shilling never actually says if he used Heinz or Hunts ketchup on the sock.

  4. Rhayader permalink
    October 20, 2009 1:40 pm

    One of my favorite baseball fan memories ever. I was in junior year of college, spending the semester in Vietnam. A few of us were waking up every game day to go find a hotel bar with ESPN at like 7:30 AM.

    Watching that entire comeback unfold was magical, and your gutsy performance in game 6 perfectly personified the Red Sox for so many of us. Thanks for the memories Curt.

  5. Jered permalink
    October 20, 2009 1:43 pm

    Thanks for the memories Curt. Remember this game like it was yesterday. Hope all is well! Miss you on the mound every fifth day. Cheers

  6. Eric permalink
    October 20, 2009 7:02 pm

    Thanks again, Curt!

    My father, brother and I watched that game, and game 7 together, and the victories played a part in healing a rift that had grown between us. After the last out, we celebrated like old friends, and it was magical.

    All the best,
    Eric

  7. October 20, 2009 7:19 pm

    Ah…watching the Yankees vs Angels ALCS game tonight…so, thanks for those wonderful memories. We were fortunate enough to attend Game 2 of the WS at Fenway(Bloody Sock 2.0). I didn’t even bring a camera because I didn’t want to be distracted.
    One thing that has stuck in my mind since that magical post-season, and I’m not a religious person by any stretch of the word, was your statement at the time: that you didn’t pray to God to win, you prayed to God for the strength to get through.
    We see religion invoked in so many ways that just aren’t right – your statement sticks with me to this day, of what prayer and religion should be about.

  8. PRpatsFAN permalink
    October 20, 2009 7:35 pm

    Yikes. Big fan of yourself huh? It’s best to let others sing your praises brother.

  9. Jonny From Burger King permalink
    October 20, 2009 8:05 pm

    Interesting.

    What did Christ tell you about cashing checks for services not rendered?

    What season was that? Haha. Blowhard.

    And dont start yelling Redlight. Christ wouldnt approve.

  10. Josh permalink
    October 20, 2009 9:47 pm

    Hey PRpatsFAN -

    He’s telling you what HE experienced. Should he speak on what Wake, or Millar or Damon were all doing and feeling?? People like you are moronic. The guy gave up a year of his career (2005) so the fans of Red Sox nation could experience their first W.S. title. Grow up and stop acting like a child.

  11. Dave permalink
    October 20, 2009 10:01 pm

    PRpatsFAN and Fine……you two are douchebags!

  12. Sting permalink
    October 21, 2009 12:08 am

    Dude, nobody cares. You’re old news and you weren’t very likable when you were new news. Go away.

  13. Vipercussionist permalink
    October 21, 2009 12:12 am

    Screw all the idiots Curt.

    It was a PLEASURE to see you make this statement a reality.

    [Quote Curt Schilling]
    I’m not sure I can think of any scenario more enjoyable than making 55,000 people from New York shut up.
    [/quote]

  14. j chase permalink
    October 21, 2009 1:03 am

    Thanks, Curt.

  15. Faiaz permalink
    October 21, 2009 3:19 am

    Stop living in the past!!!! AHAHAHAHA oh how the tides have turned. Enjoy your bragging rights for about 10 more days because once we win our 27th, it’s back to being number TWO for you guys. BTW Curt, how did that prediction on Joe Buck’s show about the Sox winning it all this year turn out for you?

  16. Tom permalink
    October 21, 2009 3:47 am

    Like school on Sunday

  17. Tom permalink
    October 21, 2009 3:48 am

    lol at “miss you on the mound every fifth day”

    you pitched there a couple years

    you were way way way way better in Arizona

  18. YankeeJoe permalink
    October 21, 2009 6:06 am

    Hey bigmouth Shill, how’s your prediction of ARod going down your big mouth now. I guess, no one has found that down and away hole your found. I guess no one was listening to you that day. By the wait can you predict for me how many games it will take for the Red Sux to beat the Yankees in the 2009 ALCS?

  19. October 21, 2009 6:31 am

    Enjoyed this article. Not nearly as much as that game. It has to be in the top 10 of all time MLB performances! Red Sox nation misses Curt Schilling! Good luck Curt.

  20. Jenn permalink
    October 21, 2009 7:47 am

    Thank you.

    It’s amazing what people can find the strength to do.

  21. Billy permalink
    October 21, 2009 7:52 am

    It’s nice to see a guy not praise himself but give the credit where it is due. We have a WONDERFUL GOD who LOVES us to an incredible degree. Often times we see athletes take credit themselves when it was actually GOD who gave them the ability to compete in the first place. Again, very refreshing to see GOD given the glory and not man. Kudos to you Curt

  22. October 21, 2009 8:01 am

    curt, thank you for the wonderful years and terrific games you gave us. we watched every game the red sox played. we still do, but sure miss you and were wishing you were on the mound again, so many times this year. during that bloody sock game, i knew the only way you were getting through, was with the lord’s help. thanks again for all the wonderful memories and for being a man who doesn’t give up and is proud of the work you have done. god bless, di b

  23. October 21, 2009 8:33 am

    Dear world,

    my baseball career is over, my political career is stalled (despite me being tremendously qualified of course)

    Would anyone like to read a long monologue about how great i am???

    Site traffic dying down these days? Better go insult an epileptic or call out A-rod (hey – thanks for that by the way)

    But in that monologue you did forgot to mention: “i kept thinking in the back of my mind holy S— i hope they dont bunt, i hope they dont bunt…”

    The only part of you that was blessed that night was that the yankees had someone managing them almost as dumb as girardi…

  24. Yanksfanincleveland permalink
    October 21, 2009 10:03 am

    Ummm Curt, who asked? Who cares? Heinz 57 on the sock and Papi and Manny loaded on roids. Nice memories. Curt you might be the most pathetic ex-player out there.

  25. jay destro permalink
    October 21, 2009 10:08 am

    hey curt i am so glad you are such a huge fan of yourself.

  26. RockyMountainRedSox permalink
    October 21, 2009 10:14 am

    It was such a thrill to witness that game and great to read about YOUR memories of it. But I’m struck by what you said at the end. Every great moment of that season and post-season ended the same way – with Keith Foulke on the mound. I don’t know how he did it. It was a season for the ages and every member of that team, every single one, should be treated as Boston heroes for what they accomplished.

  27. October 21, 2009 10:16 am

    Yo Curt dude, please stop using my name. I don’t want to have to get my lawyers on you and you know I’ve got a bunch up here.

  28. October 21, 2009 10:31 am

    Curt Schilling on what a great hero Curt Schilling is as he sings the praises of Curt Schilling and memorialized Curt Schilling’s great moments, all on Curt Schilling’s site, by Curt Schilling.

  29. saul permalink
    October 21, 2009 10:35 am

    get over yourself….we all have….

    Praise jesus….

  30. CurtLover44 permalink
    October 21, 2009 10:44 am

    I’m just so pleased that Curt Schilling has a forum for his opinions. Really, it seems like Curt really holds back promoting himself and his ideas and I think it is terrific that now we have a direct avenue to a man who is obviously so humble that it must have taken a lot of persuasion to get him to write this.

  31. Mike McC permalink
    October 21, 2009 11:18 am

    Search Curt Schillings house, garunteed somewhere in there you find a receipt from Halloween Adventure for costume blood capsules dated October 18, 2004. I know, I know..he probably threw the receipt out, not this guy…he’s that cocky. By the way, Theres no such thing as Red Sox nation…

  32. YANKS4LIFE permalink
    October 21, 2009 11:29 am

    Hold onto whatever you can BoSox fans….things are back to the way they should be in the AL East, thank God!

  33. SonOfAMoose permalink
    October 21, 2009 11:30 am

    the sock was a fake you moron

    how come the blood didn’t spread throughout the game?!

    that red sharpie you used should be in the HOF

  34. October 21, 2009 11:52 am

    Interesting…I was sacrificing all manner of animals in Satan’s name that night. I’m pretty sure you owe that win to me and the Lord of Darkness. Also, rice.

  35. weyhvac permalink
    October 21, 2009 12:19 pm

    Hey before you haters go get ah new haih cut. It’s fact that this man had surgery on his ankle just in hopes to be able to pitch.I don’t know about you but I’m not exactly feeling 100% a day after surgery. Name one player that would even think about going through that and not just mailing it in calling it a season. I feel sorry that you nevr have and will never get to experience what we experienced in 2004.Curt thank you for the memories that you have given us.

  36. Kunal Shah permalink
    October 21, 2009 1:00 pm

    You are still a loser who will hopefully learn the hard way that nobody likes you and we all wish you die.

  37. Jimbo permalink
    October 21, 2009 1:53 pm

    Curt,
    A lot of stupid replies here. You delivered one of the gutsiest athletic performances of all time. Thanks!

  38. Red But Sock permalink
    October 21, 2009 2:18 pm

    Dude. Really. Enough with the Christ crap. I’m sure he would be so concerned with what some guy wants who was making millions of dollars for doing what little kids do for fun.

    “Can I just win this game Jesus?”

    “Ahhh..hold on. I have some more pressing issues”

  39. Johnny BigLeagues permalink
    October 21, 2009 2:24 pm

    The problem with the internet is that any ol’ %^$@%@#$% can post his or her comment/opinion on a subject, and most do it, unfortunately, while attempting to prove their comedic chops, or rather lack there-of.

    The silliness of Schill’s Christ comments aside, there is no one – no matter how they feel about the guy’s personality – that can minimize the greatness of that performance. And to suggest that the blood on his sock was fake or some sort of stunt, shows a complete lack of understanding on how an injury like that behaves under stress.

    Any Red Sox fan who takes shots at Schilling is no Red Sox fan at all. So go find another team if that’s the case. Your not wanted. We’ll promote a pink hat to full fan status, because even a pink hat has more credibility than a supposed Sox fan that belittles Schill’s effort in Game 6 of that 2004 ALCS.

    Schilling has earned the right to write as much as he likes about that moment and that season, no matter how silly some of it comes off.

  40. Bud permalink
    October 21, 2009 3:34 pm

    So in one sentence he couldn’t feel his foot because of an injection. In the next he says his foot felt like walking in the rain in your socks.

    Which was it Curt? Can’t remember your own story anymore?

  41. October 21, 2009 6:22 pm

    Nice to read about an event that lives in the hearts of all Red Sox fans.
    No matter your opinion of Schilling, can’t we enjoy the memories of 2004.

    Personally, I love all that the players on that team did – THANKS for the MEMORIES

    and GO RED SOX

  42. October 21, 2009 6:54 pm

    Thanks for the memories, Curt, and for all you did.
    I think it was in the second inning of that game when I knew you guys weren’t going to lose again.

    And thanks for acknowledging what Foulke did. He’s the one player I’d like to meet and say “Thanks” to in person. 9th inning, one out, one on, pacing like a madwoman … and I was actually able to sit down and watch because it was Keith on the mound. But man, it was an eternity before he actually tossed that ball to first!

  43. Phillies Fan permalink
    October 22, 2009 12:50 am

    God there’s a lot of $#$#@$ who comment here. If you guys don’t want to read Curt Schilling’s opinions, his memories, or anything else he damn well chooses to write about, then why come to the website?

    That game has always blown my mind, and I’ve always admired the mental toughness behind it. Faith is as good an explanation as any, I’m just happy to have been able to watch such a performance.

    At some point, Curt, would you mind giving us your thoughts on the upcoming world series? What do you think of Hamels’ struggles this year?

  44. October 22, 2009 9:07 am

    You will always be at the forefront of a Sox fan’s mind when it comes to that season. No more words are needed. Thank God you were with us that season!!! :)

  45. GeorgeAnderson permalink
    October 22, 2009 10:30 am

    The first and only time I every thought there might actually be a curse was when Curt got beat up in Game 1. I thought “No way. This guy is a certified Yankee killer and post season stud – this cant really be happening. Can it?”

    Even if he had two healthy ankles this pitching performance is still on par with Papi’s walk offs, and Keith Foulke’s brilliant, dominant tournament.

    Game 6 goes down as one of the top moments in Red Sox history – it’s the worst moment in Yankee history. As pathetic, ignorant, and spoiled as Yankee fans are – Curt is and always will be their Cryptonite.

  46. AL5000 permalink
    October 22, 2009 12:30 pm

    Love the player, can’t stand when he opens his mouth sometimes. I’m sure his praying did the trick, as nobody from the other side was apparently making a futile attempt to appease the gods. puleeze.

  47. October 22, 2009 1:31 pm

    Haters: There’s a little red ‘X’ up in the corner of your screen. Use it.

    Curt: That game is still as amazing to me today as it was five years ago. Thanks for all you did for the Sox, and God Bless. We fans miss you! :)

  48. Mat permalink
    October 22, 2009 1:36 pm

    Hey morons, if you were in his shoes (bloody or not) you would do the same thing. Curt deserves sharing with us the steps he had to take during those two weeks and I appreciate his comments. I mainly appreciate that he puts our Lord first ahead of everything else as without him he is nothing. I applaud you Curt and I applaud Wake and Timlin for always putting what is most important first and the rest ALWAYS falls right into place. That was a special time in Sox and baseball history and if there are jealous fans who don’t get it, that’s their problem. Keep sharing special moments like this one and keep up the good work both spiritually and otherwise.

    God Bless!

  49. sdl1 permalink
    October 22, 2009 9:48 pm

    To me…once we got past the Yankees, I had a strong feeling The Curse was finally over.

    But to be honest, with 2 outs in the 9th in game 4, I was still feeling some dread that SOMETHING was going to happen and that the Curse was going to rear it’s ugly head.

    When Fuulke threw to Mientkiewicz to get Renteria at 1st…I just felt all my emotions coming out. I was just sitting there crying tears of joy.

  50. Jeff Mills permalink
    October 27, 2009 7:51 pm

    Curt,

    It is ridiculous that some people want to discredit you for your performance in Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS. These people obviously never played professional sports. They obviously never had to pitch in Yankee Stadium in front of 60,000 hostile fans who are calling you every name under the sun. These are people who call in sick to work because they have a headache yet you pitched and pitched effectively in Game 6. What really gets the goat of some Yankees fans is that you dominated that game and they couldn’t close the deal. Their team was up 3-0 and they couldn’t get it done.

  51. Mattingly23 permalink
    October 29, 2009 9:20 pm

    Was that paint from Home Depot, or From Lowes?

  52. Sox Fan permalink
    November 7, 2009 10:00 pm

    Mr. Schilling, Your dedication to completing that series in 2004 was a gift to Red Sox fans; while your witness to your faith and confidence in God is a gift to every person, at any time. Thank you!

  53. Scott permalink
    November 9, 2009 9:58 pm

    If it wasnt for the rainout the previous day and extra rest for CS, Red Sox go another 86 years of being losers

  54. zsdv permalink
    November 18, 2009 12:43 pm

    hey curt – you suck!

  55. James D. permalink
    November 25, 2009 10:53 am

    I was more amazed by your ability to pitch Game 2 of the World Series. However, for me, I know you gave up a good portion of the rest of your career by pitching those two nights. You did some serious damage to yourself– kind of like driving a car without any oil in it. Same with Keith– he pitched his a– off every night. Embree did a solid job too. It took all of that and more to win Boston a World Series and get that Grady Little taste out of it’s mouth. ‘Cause that sh– was NASTY!

    It’s weird to be in a happy Boston sports reality. Every decade previous to this (unless you enjoy hockey or basketball) brought despair and heartache to Boston sports fans. It started with the Pats win over the Rams in early 2002– probably the most memorable sports moment in my lifetime (no offense). Right after 9/11, with U2 kicking butt in the halftime show- and then with that amazing ending! Unbelievable.

    Then came 2003. GL and PM. Dammit. Baseball had me hooked.

    Then those Ford commercials. And then 2004 happened. Wow.

    I remember being so mad during the ALCS that I shut the TV off during Game 4. I woke up the next morning, didn’t read the paper, didn’t watch TV, left for work, didn’t listen to the radio and only found out the Sox had won by seeing the electronic billboard near the Weston Police Barracks. “Red Sox Win– 4-2″. I just about drove off the road.

    Then I stayed up for Game 5. Papi Papi Papi. I went to bed happy that night.

    Game 6 was amazing because of two things: 1) what you were going through, and 2) what the Yankee fans were going through. Yankee Stadium was VERY quiet. I liked that a lot.

    Game 7 was a blur. Damon’s grand slam, Embree pitching last, a big pile of Red Sox and that’s that.

    Thanks again for being a part of all of these amazing memories. Good luck with your software company.

  56. Soxfan permalink
    December 21, 2009 1:45 pm

    Curt, it sickens me to year all of these people here cheapen your accomplishment on that faithful night. I remember that that game just as if it just happened. It was one evening I will NEVER forget….it tok extreme guts to pull that off. Thank you for all the memories with the Sox. I will remember your performances forever…Take care and God Bless Curt

  57. January 16, 2010 6:05 pm

    Curt, not sure if you read all of these comments, but just in case you do… I heard about Martha Coakley’s gaffe, saying that you were a Yankees fan. Hilarious. That kind of made me want to go back and read the story of Game 6 again, and that’s how I ended up here. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that that World Series holds some truly special memories for me, especially Game 6 and your determination to win. (Thanks for giving credit where it’s due, as well.) My Dad and I don’t really get along that well, but he and I watched the whole Series together. Of course the Sox winning was awesome, but the sheer determination of the whole team to come back–epitomized by your play in spite of the injury–THAT is what made it magic for both of us. Thanks for giving me a memory of a shared experience with my Dad that will last a lifetime. Magic.

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